On November 28th and 29th, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Film Independent, hosted the Global Media Makers (GMM) Summit in Cairo to celebrate the third year of the distinguished U.S. film mentoring program.
The Summit, which connected filmmakers from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey with prominent leaders from the U.S. film industry, provided an opportunity for past GMM Fellows to reconnect with their peers and Mentors, as well as to explore future collaboration, discuss funding opportunities, and share best industry practices.
During the event, participants attended a number of professional workshops, including sessions on financing development and marketing and distribution, among others. Jana Wehbe, a Fellow from Lebanon, proposed an outline for a GMM network to better support the Fellows in their collaborations and efforts to find solutions to challenges they face in their countries. The Fellows will continue to strengthen this idea of a GMM network via an online group that will oversee research and actions items to achieve their mission.
The Mentors that participated in the Summit were Len Amato, President of HBO Films; Laura Kim, Senior Vice President of Film Marketing at Participant Media; Producer Effie T. Brown (Dear White People); Producer Alix Madigan (Winter’s Bone); Elissa Federoff, film distributer; and Director, Producer, and Screenwriter Gregory Nava (El Norte, Selena).
Launched in 2016, GMM is a cultural exchange program that brings filmmakers from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey to Los Angeles to participate in a six-week intensive residency. Throughout this experience, filmmakers develop their projects under the mentorship of leading U.S. film industry representatives. In the last three years, 180 Mentors have served GMM through various workshops and individual meetings, as well as travelling to the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey to present international workshops that have impacted over 500 participants.
GMM is supported through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Film Independent, a non-profit arts organization that champions independent filmmakers.